Fancy working from home abroad? Sun, sea and a laptop in hand sounds like too good an opportunity to pass up, right? However, it may not be as easy you think. Here’s everything you need to know about remote working overseas.
Since lockdown started, thousands of UK workers have been forced to adapt to working from home, reconfiguring their spaces to allow for makeshift home offices and working with employers to tailor their roles to remote working.
Although at first this felt like a huge change, the response from employees has largely been positive and it seems that this time might have shown that as a workforce, many of us will be capable of working from home even after social distancing ends. In fact, research from Eskenzi reported by BBC News, shows that 91% of the UK’s office workers are keen to keep working from home at least some of the time.
As our working habits change, though, the conversation widens to what opportunities this flexibility might make possible. After all, working from home is a privilege that has been praised in the past for allowing a better work life balance, so with much more of this on the horizon, could UK workers be tempted to take it a step further and work from home from another country?
It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Imagine renting a charming, ever-so-slightly crumbling apartment in somewhere like Italy or Greece for a few weeks or even months and instead of slogging away on your laptop all day at home, doing it on the Amalfi Coast, for example, instead.
This is certainly the emerging trend with those who can. It seems that workers with entirely digital roles – with no need to go into an office and no family to look after – are thinking about upping sticks and working from somewhere sunnier than Britain.
“I’ve dreamed of moving abroad somewhere beautiful and warm like Spain or Italy for years. While my family and my job (I’m a florist and have my own wedding props business, so I kind of need to be where the brides I work with are) have kept me here, I would love to get a taste of that life by moving abroad just for a month and working from my laptop. It feels like one of those, ‘why not?’ moments,” says Rosie Conroy, co-founder of Lavender and Rose, living in London.
However, this idyllic picture is not quite as easy to achieve as it sounds. Thanks to tax complications and visa restrictions, it’s important to check out exactly what you are and aren’t allowed to do before you jet off, laptop in hand.
Do I need to tell my boss if I want to work from home abroad?
Absolutely. The trickiest thing about working from another country is how it could change the tax you or your company pays. For example, if your job involves making big decisions for your company or involves any legal work such as reviewing contracts then the country you’re staying in could argue that your company has set up a mini establishment there, which would mean they could locally tax you. This could also apply if other people from your workplace have the same idea and you both want to stay in Paris, for example. With two people from the same British company basing themselves for a number of weeks or months in the same place, and doing UK work there, then the French government could argue that you have a new French office which would obviously have implications.
Will I have to pay tax in the country I’m working in?
Possibly, yes. In Britain you can be considered a visitor UK tax resident if you stay and work here for as little as 46 days, so you need to check what the rules are for the country you’d like to work in. Whatever the local rules are, they will probably depend on how many days a year you’re planning to stay there, so the shorter amount of time you’re planning on enjoying your working holiday, the better.
Where can I work abroad anyway?
The UK government is happy for us to travel to certain countries which have been deemed safe enough and placed in ‘travel corridors’. You can see this list on GOV.UK and be aware that it is changing regularly, so it’s important to keep checking and read all of the advice and guidelines provided.
Will I need a visa?
This usually depends on how long you’re likely to be abroad for and of course, where you’re going. If you want to work from a European country the rules are much more straightforward and until we officially leave the EU on 31 December 2020, you have the right to live and work anywhere in the European Economic Area (EEA). Anywhere outside of Europe and you’ll need to check the visa restrictions. Barbados, for example, is offering a one-year visa which allows you to work remotely which you can apply for online for $2,000 (£1,500).
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